Building a Data-Driven Journey towards a Net-Zero Tradition with Adaptable and Robust Data Management

The Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt river delta in the Netherlands
The Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt river delta in the Netherlands by NASA Johnson is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Successful digital organizations have been fueled by data-driven efforts supported by cutting-edge technologies like open source, AI, and ML. These initiatives have enabled innovation, new business models, and engaging consumer experiences across key growth industries like e-commerce and fintech. 

Such achievement is still more of an anomaly than the rule. When attempting to incorporate data strategies that move the business ahead, many firms are still hindered by typical problems such as siloed management, complicated legislation, and personnel shortages. 

To learn more about the ASEAN companies’ success stories in making the transition to data-driven operations through analytics and AI, CIO World Asia spoke with Datin Ts. Habsah Nordin; Chief Data Officer, PETRONAS and Steve Sobel; Industry Leader – Communications, Media & Entertainment, Databricks.  

Datin Ts. Habsah Nordin

Chief Data Officer, PETRONAS

Steve Sobel

Industry Leader – Communications, Media & Entertainment, Databricks

According to PETRONAS, the company’s aim is to deliver energy solutions that fuel progress in a responsible manner. Their commitment is to conduct and grow business in ways that contribute positively to society and the environment. This is guided by their four sustainability lenses, which are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 2030. 

 Their commitment is also aligned with our Statement of Purpose: 

“A progressive energy and solutions partner, enriching lives for a sustainable future.” 

PETRONAS’ Digital Transformation Journey 

When it comes to digital transformation, Datin Nordin notes that PETRONAS is still en route in its journey. There are still many aspects in its operations that PETRONAS wants to bring in AI & ML models to be more pervasive. To ensure that the company is on the right track, one of the strategic pillars that it relies on is its data where major decision-making and insights are made. PETRONAS does not only focus on its technology but also its people, to ensure that both processes work in tandem with each other. During its transformation journey, the company focused on re-skilling its employees instead of removing them.  

We want to make sure we disrupt the business, but it does not mean to disrupt in a way that people lose their jobs.

Datin Ts. Habsah Nordin; Chief Data Officer, PETRONAS

Key Challenges  

One of the main issues PETRONAS is dealing with is the global shortage of workers with a background in digital technology. As a result of seeing that this is a widespread issue, the corporation decides to launch a nation-building effort in Malaysia with the goal of developing a new talent pool that is more data literate and self-assured while employing AI. This will ensure that there is greater interest in digital roles in the online world. 

According to Steve, the challenges that many organisations face today are not the lack of data, but instead the amount of data that hits the floor. As a company, Databricks exist to take all your data and use it for competitive differentiation, which looks different across every industry. This is so that companies can derive more value from the asset that they have the most, which is data, and being able to move quickly and not only make data-centered decisions but create data-centered experiences as well. 

Companies are adjusting to the revolutionary changes by upskilling their employees in an effort to reduce job losses and position their organizations for the future as a result of the rising tide of digitalization and deployment of robotics and artificial intelligence capabilities across industries. PETRONAS has been creating an adaptable, creative, and resilient workforce in anticipation of this. As a result, the business will be able to fully realize its potential as a forward-thinking partner in energy and solutions with a focus on sustainability. 

The focus of PETRONAS to sustainability for more than two decades is reflected in its commitment to its personnel. It has been cultivating and investing in talent to build a highly qualified and skilled workforce to support growth and advance Malaysia’s energy industry. 

When it comes to digital transformation, Steve notes that for companies that are still starting on their journey, they are not behind. Recognising that starting is important to begin with.  

A Responsible Oil & Gas Company 

PETRONAS has combined its internal expertise with that of Malaysian academic institutions of higher learning and international network partners in order to resolutely pursue hydrogen production and invest in technology venture funding. This was done out of an unwavering desire and passion to provide energy solutions that fuel progress in a responsible manner. 

 In order for PETRONAS to move beyond hydrocarbon sources and become a provider of end-to-end hydrogen solutions, PETRONAS Hydrogen was founded within the Gas and New Energy business in 2020. Clean and adaptable, hydrogen is a fuel for transportation and power, a fuel for heating, and a feedstock for manufacturing. 

By leveraging the maturity of our ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) processes and securing long-term value for the Company, PETRONAS has stated its aim to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as part of the ongoing global drive towards the transition to cleaner energy. 

PETRONAS’ efforts to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 will be stretched, and new and inclusive possibilities that contribute to a more sustainable future will be created.